Tag Archives: singing

Holidays – The perfect time for a Dinosaur Dance!

When-I-was-Your-Age-NathaliaSummer is a great time to learn languages together as a family. I’ll be reviewing a few great resources over the next few weeks.  The first is a  brilliant new CD by Nathalia. When I was your age. Cuando era Pequeña.
We were really lucky to win this CD on a giveaway on Instagram. If you’re not following us on Instagram then click here

 

There are 10  brilliant songs on this album.

 

  • Dinosaur Dance
  • Señor Opuesto
  • It’s My Birthday
  • Pesadillas
  • Qué llueva
  • When I Grow Up  
  • La Iguana Pepa
  • Oh Math
  • ¿Qué me dices tu?
  • Otra Vez

 

As a family, Spanish is our least used language,  so when I started to play the CD in the car I did not know how my kids would get on with it. I need not have worried though!To start with I was listening with my teenager (who will not tolerate rubbish music) and he enjoyed it- high praise indeed!

To start with my girls only wanted to listen to the English songs. After a few listens, the bilingual “When I Grow Up” is a firm favourite. My 8 year old even said mid song, the Spanish word for world is mundo !

 

Want to have a listen for yourself? Listen to a sample of the album and purchase it here.

The album has a real mix of styles across many genres of music, from swing in dinosaur dance to Latin fiesta feel  in Señor Opuesto  to Gypsy Kings style in Que Llueva.

My personal favourite is Otra vez, a rousing African style song encouraging listeners to get up and try again.

We really enjoy Pesadillas with it’s very catchy summer vibes, the girls were singing along, in Spanish, very quickly.

There is so much variety I can’t do it justice in a review, you need to listen to a samples here.

The songs flow seamlessly from Spanish to English and back again. It would be a great addition to your CD collection if you are a bilingual Spanish English family. It helps children realise it is normal to speak two languages.

This CD has many styles and does not get boring, no matter how many times you have heard it. Because of this CD my girls (and me) are singing along in Spanish so improving our Spanish pronunciation and vocabulary whilst having fun singing .

 

If you are a GCSE Spanish teacher this CD would be a great resource to use in the classroom. The when I grow up song has a lot of vocabulary on jobs and great repetition of future tense. “Cuando será grande”

 

The CD is available to download  here. as well as physical copy from Nathalia’s website.
Keep the learning going this summer with great resources like this and get your kids up, moving to the dinosaur dance (plus many more) and singing in different languages!

Can you learn languages in the bath?

duckCan you improve your family language skills in the bath?

Family language learning is rarely structured, just making the most of the different opportunities which arise, but can you improve language skills in the bath?

My daughters, really got to grips with their German colours after Oma sent some bath fizzers which colour the bath water. We would ask them what colour bath they would like and they had to answer in German. If they got it correct there was an immediate reward of a fun coloured bath. It worked really quickly for them!
We were sent something similar to try by the lovely ladies at funkydz

Bubbles are a brilliant way to engage and motivate children and get them speaking in another language in German they are called die Seifenblasen, we do it for a minute and then stop. The bubbles start again if they say “Nochmal” (again). They very quickly learned that word.

We LOVE to sing (well mummy anyway!) In the bath, garden and the high street (and sometimes to my childrens’ embarrassment in the supermarket) Singing in the bath is such a fun, silly way to bring languages in to the bathroom.
As you may have guessed German is our second language at home. A good German song to sing in the bath is “funf kleine Fische”- Five little fishes.Don’t forget to snap, snap, snap snap!

This would be brilliant to use with fishes and sharks in the bath (bath toys may work better than real ones!)

 

We’ve a few ducks in our bath (plastic ones of course) which we use to sing “Alle meine Entchen” -All my little duckings

German may be our second language, but that does not stop us having language learning fun in other languages too.
We’ve a few French songs we enjoy which involve boats and splashing. They are brilliant to sing in the bath.

We get out our boats for “Bateau sur l’eau” – boat on the water.

“Tapent tapent petit mains” – clap clap little hands

After the line about the fish swimming we add “et plouf dans l’eau” and splash in the water.

 

So, what are you waiting for? Run that bath, pour in the bubbles and get playing with languages together!

 

We were sent free samples of bath products by Funkydz to try at home. It sparked memories of our language learning adventures so I thought I’d share our stories as well as a link to buy your own.
http://www.funkydz.co.uk/

 

Do you know any good splashy songs in other languages ? Let me know in the comments below.

Bird food as a language learning supertool

We started a homeschooling adventure at the end of May. It was a bit unexpected but it is a lot of fun.

We’ve done a lot of project based work, so when I heard Ivel Valley were looking for bloggers to review their bird feed, we jumped at the chance. It begs the question: Can you learn with bird food?

Here is our very silly Unboxing Film. (They do say not to work with children or animals)

There are so many learning experiences in everyday life, for languages, science, maths, literacy and lots more.
We’ve been feeding the birds for a while, but just cheap bird seeds. As you can see in the video, this is so much better than what we usually feed them. I’m sure the birds will love us now!

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There are so many learning experiences in everyday life, for languages, science, maths, literacy and lots more.
Feeding birds fits into science work on food chains. It fosters a nurturing attitude to caring for nature. We can use maths whilst measuring out what we need. We can spot birds coming and chart it. (Maths too) We can chat about the birds in another language, German is our second language at home, I’ll be learning too as I don’t yet know many bird’s names in German!

So whilst following the nature topic this week we came across some brillant things. So, why is bird food a language learning supertool?

We came across a traditional German Children’s song. Alle Vögel sind schon da. I hope you enjoy this lively version.

In our garden, this week we’ve seen pigeons, robins, sparrows, bluetits, thrushes, blackbirds and red kites.

So the German names for these are

We found some poetry on birds to use literacy skills. We’ve been looking at symmetry in nature. We read about food chains and my daughter wrote some food chains including birds both as predator and prey. As the work we did was rooted in the project for the week there is a direct link which helps to keep an interest in the work we are doing.

Would you like to buy some of this brilliant bird food for yourself. Pop over to the website Ivel Valley

Are there any more names for birds you think we’ve missed? Add you comments below.

Are you home schooling? How do you work with your little ones? Let us know in the comments below.

Can you pass on a language without being a native speaker?

Today we have an interview with Rachel, who is teaching her daughter french, but she’s not a native speaker of french.
I’d been chatting to Rachel before. We met via the Speak to the Future LinkedIn group. I was really excited when I found out she’s teaching her own child French at home, although her mother tongue is English, like we’re doing at home.

Learning about le poisson d'Avril

Learning about le poisson d’Avril

We met Rachel in her hometown of Carlisle in the Easter holidays.

– The first question was from Emily: Why do you live in the north?

I’m from this area and my parents live here. There’s lots to do with little ones in Carlisle.

– What do you do for work?

I’m a freelance translator of French and German and private tutor of French. I also occasionally do some voluntary work in French classes in a local infant school.

– What made you want to introduce a foreign language to M?

I can see that it’s a massive advantage for her to be introduced to languages at a young age. Little ones are like sponges – they learn so quickly. She’s at an age where she’s not shy about using another language. I have the language skills so can pass them on to her. I know she won’t become bilingual through me – I’m not a native speaker and we don’t live in France – but I want her to have a good grounding in another language, to enjoy it and be confident in it. I was surprised from how early on she could distinguish between French and English and how much she has picked up.

– Do you do lessons with your little one?

No, we simply do it as part of our everyday life. She likes to watch “Pierre le lapin” (Peter Rabbit) and other English-language cartoons she knows on the tablet in French, as well as original French-language cartoons. We’ve also got some CDs of French songs – she in particular likes trying to sing along to songs on one called “Maxi Enfance”. We enjoy sharing French books and puzzles. I’ve got a French mummy friend we exchange books with, which is a great advantage.
I joke with friends that I teach her “French by torture” – we play a tickling game where I’ll stop tickling only when she says “arrête”. She often shouts “encore”!
We visit France together. Last time we were there, M bought herself a book. I explained the procedure/what to say, all in French, and she quite happily went to the counter and said all the right things at the right time, and was delighted to have “tricked” the lady into thinking she was French!
She’s just started French lessons at her preschool, so we’ll see if she lets on that she knows lots or is quiet and acts like she doesn’t know any!

"We love to share these magazines together"

“We love to share these magazines together”

Alongside learning the actual language, I also think it’s important to teach M about some of the traditions and culture of France. For example, we recently read an article together on Easter in France, from which M not only learned a couple of new Easter-related words but was also interested to find out about the “cloches volantes” that bring sweets to children in France. We also had fun making “poissons d’avril” as I taught her about this French 1st of April tradition. I was also able to use this activity to reinforce colour words with her.

– Finally, what would you say to other parents wishing to pass on their language skills to their little one?

Go for it! There’s no better time to learn than when they’re young – the younger the better! Especially if you’re a native speaker, but even if you aren’t but have the right background and skills in the foreign language. It’s fun for both of you and wonderful to see their progress.

OPOL or bust? What’s the best method for language learning?

I’ve heard it said many times that one parent one language (OPOL) is the best if not only way of family language learning. It is often held up as the Holy Grail of bilingual families.
In our home OPOL was not possible, as my husband was not keen to do this. He’d only lived in England two years by then and felt consolidating his English was most important. I’m native English and had studied German to GCSE, so started to pass on what I knew when our son was small. Maik did help me work on my German, so me and my son were learning together. We found some French books in a local shop when he was a little over a year and we started to read those to him now and again.

Il fait comment le caméléon?

Il fait comment le caméléon?


It was all very ad hoc, and in the very early internet days we did not come across anyone doing the same. I just felt it was important so we shared German books together, recited days of the week in the car, sung along to nursery rhyme CDs, counted on the swings, played with toys which spoke German and watched German DVDs together as well as German satellite TV. My thinking was to give as much language exposure as possible which he could build on in school. Yearly visits to Germany provided a good chance for him to meet German speaking people and practice speaking. Food vocab was considered most important! We celebrated German festivals like Martinstag and Nikolaustag together. It was hard work and I was not sure how much difference it was making.
A few years later my girls were born and I met a few German speaking mums with similar age children. It was so encouraging to be able to speak to someone outside our family in German and talk with them about how they brought German into their family. We shared books, DVDs and CDs which was great. We also found out about a German Lutheran church about an hour away so we were able to join with them for Martinstag and Nikolaustag.Nikolaus Boots
My children are not fluent in German but can understand a lot and communicate in the country. My son can easily pick up native accents (and mimic regional accents too) and speaks better Dutch than his parents. I put this down to hearing and using a few languages from a young age. My six year old was astounded when I told her some families only speak English.

So back to the opening question, OPOL or bust? What’s the best method for language learning?
I think there is no best way of family language learning. Raising multilingual children is a flexible and very personal process, do what works for you and your family, make it part of your lifestyle. It needs to be something which works for you and your family in the long term.
Bilingualism is a massive asset to your children in the long term and as parents we are so fortunate to be able to give it to our children. Just do what works for you all and enjoy the journey together.

What has been your family experience? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below, or you could even write us a guest blog.

Song translating fun.

Savez-vous-planter-les-chouxThe songs we use in our classes are a mix of those familiar English nursery rhymes and songs like Incy Wincy spider and traditional songs in the target language to help the families appreciate that culture. We have a few French songs I’d love to use but we’ve not yet got English translations that can be sung to the same tune to help introduce the song. We’re also starting working on our French CD so it all becomes a bit more urgent!

We were sat round the table having Sunday tea and I asked my family for ideas. This is how it went…

The first song was Mernier tu dors

Meunier, tu dors, (mime sleeping)
Ton moulin, va trop vite. (roll arms)
Meunier, tu dors, (mime sleeping)
Ton moulin, va trop fort
Ton moulin, ton moulin (roll arms faster)
Va trop vite
Ton moulin, ton moulin (roll arms backwards)
Va trop fort.
Ton moulin, ton moulin
Va trop vite
Ton moulin, ton moulin
Va trop fort.

My eight year old started and after five minutes we had this translation which can be sung and keeps the feel of the song.

Miller, wake up
The wind it is blowing
Miller, wake up.
The wind it is strong.

Your windmill, your windmill,
It is too fast.
Your windmill, your windmill,
is too strong.
Your windmill, your windmill,
It is too fast.
Your windmill your windmill,
is too strong.

It you don’t know the song here is a live version we recorded last year.

This second song, I’ve wanted to use for ages. It has a fun tune, is silly and is a great way to learn body parts. It must be fairly old as my mum learned it at school!

Savez-vous planter les choux
À la mode, à la mode
Savez-vous planter les choux
À la mode de chez nous

On les plante avec les pieds
À la mode, à la mode
On les plante avec les pieds
À la mode de chez nous

On les plante avec le genou
À la mode, à la mode
On les plante avec le genou
À la mode de chez nous

On les plante avec le nez
À la mode, à la mode
On les plante avec le nez
À la mode de chez nous

On les plante avec le coude
À la mode, à la mode
On les plante avec le coude
À la mode de chez nous

The google translate of this is hilarious !

“Do you plant cabbage
Fashionable, trendy
Do you plant cabbage
The way we do it at home”

After a few minutes we came up with.

Cabbage planting is such fun
Like we do it, like we do it.
Cabbage planting is such fun,
Like we do it, come along.

We can plant it with our feet,
Like we do it, like we do it.
We can plant it with our feet,
Like we do it, come along.

We can plant it with our knee,
Like we do it, like we do it.
We can plant it with our knee,
Like we do it, come along.

We can plant it with our nose,
Like we do it, like we do it.
We can plant it with our nose
Like we do it, come along.

We can plant it with our elbow,
Like we do it, like we do it.
We can plant it with our elbow
Like we do it, come along.

Next term’s French class we’ll be reading “la petit poule rousse” The little red hen. We’ll finally we using this song.

I need to find a cabbage prop! Any ideas where?

Do you use songs in your language learning? Do you have fun translating them. Let me know in the comments below.

Learn to sing Twinkle Twinkle in five languages

Love singing? Join us to learn to sing Twinkle twinkle in five languages. You’ll be a polyglot before you know it!

In English

In German

In Spanish

In Esperanto

In Mandarin

You may notice the translations have slightly different meanings. Song translation is tricky. We tend to go with the feeling of the song and flow over direct translation.

Which language do you prefer to sing it in? Let us know in the comments below.

Chinese New Year- my Lesson Plan

Lion danceFebruary 8th 2016 is the start of the Chinese New Year This year is the year of the Monkey. We’re taking part in Chinatown in Chesham in a few weeks. We’ve got three classes in local schools for early years and KS1.

 

So last year, I wrote a brilliant lesson using the great songs by Toni Wang at a little mandarin. It’s a lot of fun and children pick up some simple Mandarin words.

This is my lesson plan for the session lasting about 20 minutes. I hope it inspires you to use Mandarin in your classroom.
The lyrics for all the songs are available on http://alittlemandarin.com/lyrics/ I printed them out on A4 card, put a related picture on the other side and laminated it.
The story I used  was the really simple one from Twinkl .

Learning objective:
To hear, sing and speak a little Mandarin and hear about the cultural traditions for Chinese New Year.

By the end of  session the children should be able to say hello “nĭ hăo” and good bye “zài jiàn” and have become familiar with the songs. They are likely to be able to sing the Two tigers song by repeating it. They will also have realised learning another language is a lot of fun.

The lesson outline is as follows.

dancing dragonLingotastic Chinese New Year class

Blast off to China (with rockets) One two three blast off  “yi er san diăn huŏ”

Meet the Dragon and say hello to him “nĭ hăo” If the children are feeling brave you I take the dragon to talk to individual children, a great way to repeat this phrase with them. The dragon is taking us on a New Year adventure with lots of friends to meet along the way.

Tell the Dragon’s story (Chinese zodiac story with lots of animal props) As the children hear their animal mentioned they need to wave it. Twinkl  have a brilliant simple version.

After we’ve crossed the river in the story we meet the Jade Emperor. It’s his birthday so we can all sing  Happy Birthday to the Jade Emperor in Mandarin  shēng rì kuài lè

The dragon asks can we sing it again?  please- “qĭng”

 

It’s time to find the two tigers together. Bring out the two tiger props and teach the song.

Sing two tigers with actions (in Mandarin)  liǎng zhī láo hǔ

We need to say  thank you to tigers for playing with us“xié xié”

 

Of we go again. We’ve got a friend to find. Time to find a friend

We can’t find them, they are cleaning the house ready for the new year.

On the songcard, notice the children are wearing red and gold lucky colours for the new year.

Find a friend (musical game) (in Mandarin) Play the song and pause after they sing “nǐ shì wǒ de hǎo péng yǒu” (You are my good friend.) The chidren need to find a friend and shake hands with them. Continue the song stopping at “nǐ shì wǒ de hǎo péng yǒu” and the childen find another friend to shake hands with.

 

So now we’re all ready for the New Year. It’s time to sing.

Happy new year song (in Mandarin)  xīn nián hǎo

The Dragon needs to go now, to look after the water and bring rain.

All say good bye “zài jiàn” to dragon. If you have time the dragon (and you) can go round and say it to each child so repeating it many times.finished_rockets

Blast off back to England with the rockets. Another chance to count together.

 

We use rockets as we always do at Lingotastic. It is our way of travelling to the different countries. It’s a good way to introduce some numbers.

The songs here are familiar tunes or very simple. I learned these songs by singing along to a little mandarin CD mostly in the car. My children learned them too. In the same order I did. I figured if we could learn them by singing other people could too.

 

I’m really happy to chat with you about how you could use this in your classroom. Get in touch Sarah@Lingotastic.co.uk

Santa’s favourite language learning resource!

As you may know Santa is THE most multilingual person on the planet as he reads letters from children all over the world. I even saw him signing on Facebook this week.

As a fellow polyglot he also was the first to get his hands on our brand new of Mostly German CD and I’m sure he’d like to put one in your stocking.

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We launched Lingotastic in January 2014. It’s been a very very exciting journey.
This week has been the most exciting so far. We picked up our physical copies of our Mostly German CD.

CD box

We also shot a silly video of the unboxing. I’m sure it will make you giggle too!

We’ve sold a few copies so far and had some brilliant feedback.
I loved recording the CD and it really comes through in the recording.

Singing is a really powerful tool in language learning, research is now showing. In singing you pick up the sounds of a language and quickly join in yourself. By bypassing the analytical part of the brain, you quickly acquire a good accent. This works for grown ups as well as children. When singing, you are no longer limited by grammar tables and vocab lists, free to enjoy the language and learn along the way.

For little ones, it’s an amazing foundation in language learning and the start of a bright future. We’ve seen this time and time again in our classes and now you can enjoy it at home too, with the most popular songs from our German classes. Most of these songs have not been translated into English before. We’ve also included verses in French, Spanish, Mandarin and Esperanto. Contrary to popular belief this does not confuse language learners (big and small) but actually helps language acquisition. Though these songs may be children’s songs, adults will enjoy singing along too.

Santa has his copy and I’m sure he’d like to put one in your stocking.

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Get yours at www.Lingotastic.co.uk/shopLingo_web_CD

 

Download yours at

Our birthday, NEW CD and holiday classes

This week has been so exciting I may pop!

It is two years since our first EVER class. A free trial at Chesham library.

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It’s been an exciting two years, going from one class a week to four.

Watching some gorgeous little ones grow up and saying goodbye as some move on to school.

Connecting with some amazing language enthusiasts, language businesses and language teachers both in the virtual world and the real world as we’ve met up at Language Show live.

The class (and business) is very different to when we started out with many more props, puppets and bubbles not to mention our own custom made rockets and floor mats designed and made by the amazing Emily Kane

Thanks to all of you who have come along and made the classes so much fun.

Happy Birthday Lingotastic!

Our biggest news is the launch of our first CD- mostly German

It has been a lot of fun to record, which I’m sure you’ll hear!

Lingo_web_CD

Our CD will be available to buy in classes from 14th December, at our special Christmas holiday class and in our online shop.

You will be able to preorder from Saturday 5th on our shop www.Lingotastic.co.uk/shop
Stay tuned for our special pre release offer.

It is great stocking filler and perfect timing ready for the German term in the New Year! You’ll be singing along in the car and at home and picking up lots of German (and a few words in other languages too!)

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As I mentioned before we have our Christmas holiday class coming up on 21st December. 10 am at the Chesham venue 188 Severalls Ave.
We’ll be blasting off to Spain, meeting los tres reyes (the three kings) and joining their journey following the star (la estrella) and singing some brilliant Christmas songs like Feliz Navidad. We’ve a brilliant craft too with some really gorgeous craft materials.

It’s a great way to start the Christmas holiday!

If you don’t know Feliz Navidad already, learn it with us!

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